Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. 5 Page 286


[The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 12(48), Sept., 1883, pp. 325-326.]

What we said about the recent religious riots at Ceylon, in the May Theosophist, has been fully verified now by the Report of the Commission appointed to investigate into its causes. The blame is fully due to the intolerance, bigotry and fanaticism of the Roman Catholic ruffianly mob, of the so-called converts (mostly Malabarians); a fanaticism stirred now, in the XIXth century, in as masterly a way by those whose dark aims it serves the best, as it used to be during the dark ignorance of the Middle Ages. The Report speaks volumes; and we leave it to the unprejudiced reader to judge whether,—as many an inimical journal insisted upon at that time,—the inoffensive, quiet, orderly Buddhists who claim but their legitimate recognized rights of free worship in their own native island, were the instigators of the brutal scenes, or those who would willingly wipe out of this globe the very remembrance of every other religion but their own. We reprint the Report from the Indian Mirror, the complete copy furnished to Col. Olcott by H. E. the Governor of Ceylon not yet having reached our hands.

Page 287

[Here follow excerpts from the Report of the Commission appointed to inquire into the causes which led to the riots in Colombo, on Easter Day, March 29th, 1883, when a Buddhist procession, marching to the Buddhist temple at Kotahena, under a license granted by the Police, was attacked by a large body of Roman Catholics, and many persons were seriously injured, and one mortally wounded. See the article entitled “Theosophy and Religious Riots” (The Theosophist, Vol. V, May, 1883, pp. 197-200) for particulars.

The individuals responsible for the riot were never brought to justice. This occasioned considerable tension between the various religious factions in Ceylon. At the end of 1883, Colonel Henry S. Olcott was delegated by the Buddhist Defence Committee, organized at Colombo, to go to London as the Chief Agent of that Committee, in order to lay before the Colonial Office the grievances in question and to ask for redress. Col. Olcott left for Europe on February 20, 1884, accompanied by H. P. B., Mohini M. Chatterji and others. His Buddhist Mission proved to be very successful. Various reforms resulted from it. Among other things, the birthday of the Lord Buddha —the Full Moon day of Vaisâkha (May)—was proclaimed a full holiday for the Buddhists of Ceylon.

See Col. H. S. Olcott’s Old Diary Leaves, Vol. III, pp. 71-73, 112-138, for a detailed account.—Compiler.]